June 18, 2008
BOSTON, Mass. –
Sam Cassell, who earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as a Seminole during the 1992 and 1993 seasons, became a three-time NBA champion as he helped lead the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA title with a 131-92 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on June 17 at the TD Banknorth Garden.
It marks the third NBA World Championship team Cassell has played on during his career; he played on two championship teams with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995.
Cassell helped the Celtics to their league record 17th championship as he averaged 3.8 points and 10.2 minutes in five of the six games during the NBA Finals. He suffered a sprained wrist in the second game of the series and was limited in his playing time during the remainder of the series.
“I was here early in my career,” said Cassell in the winning locker room following the Celtics championship clinching victory. “Now 12 years later – now I know why people cry when they win championships. This was the team two beat. They said we didn’t have a point guard – Rajon Rondo – day one from when I got here I said he’d be fine. They said this team didn’t have a center – Kendrick Perkins – the guy came out of high school. Hey, we are the world champions right now.”
Cassell, who averaged 11.8 points during the regular season and 4.9 points a game during the regular season, said helping Boston win its NBA-record 17th title was the reason he signed with the Celtics after leaving the Los Angeles Clippers at mid-season.
“There is no equal,” Cassell said about winning a championship with the Celtics. “Winning a championship with the Celtics in unbelievable.”
Cassell became the second Florida State basketball star to earn an NBA Championship with the Celtics. He joined Seminole great Dave Cowens who helped lead the Celtics to NBA titles in 1974 and 1976. In helping the Celtics to the NBA crown, he became only the second Seminole to play on three world championship teams. Cassell and JT Thomas, who played on three NFL Super Bowl Champions with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1975, 76 and 79), are the only Seminoles with three championship rings from one of the four major sport leagues.
Cassell, who led the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in 1993 and the Sweet 16 in 1992, had his No. 10 Florida State jersey honored in a ceremony during halftime of Florida State’s game against Wake Forest on Feb. 14, 2007. With Cassell at the helm, Florida State finished with an 11-5 record in ACC play in 1992 and as 12-4 record in conference play in 1993. Both seasons the Seminoles finished in second place in the league standings and in both seasons the Seminoles advanced deep into the NCAA Tournament.